News / Africa

Agriculture Day Set to Dominate at Climate Conference

A view of the opening ceremony of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha November 26, 2012. A view of the opening ceremony of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha November 26, 2012.
x
A view of the opening ceremony of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha November 26, 2012.
A view of the opening ceremony of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha November 26, 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to interview with Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda and Kim Lewis

Kim Lewis
As delegates meet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, to craft a new international climate agreement after the 1997 Kyoto treaty expires next month, another group will be calling attention to the huge role agriculture could play in being part of the solution to climate change. 

Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods Day will take place at the conference on December 3.  The event hopes to put into place a dedicated work program to help farmers adapt to climate change, and to showcase solutions agriculture can provide in mitigating the effects of climate change. 

Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, is CEO of the Africa-wide Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, FANRPAN, and is also spokesperson for global-agriculture coalition Farming First. She said agriculture is a crucial sector for many economies, especially the developing countries.  It supports the livelihoods for millions of people and also provides socio-economic empowerment, so it is vitally important that agriculture be a part of the talks in Doha.

“Well, I think the main thing to appreciate is that agriculture contributes to global emissions.  But,  at the same time, good agriculture is good for the environment, and it can actually reduce emissions and also counter any emissions that are already out there, explained Sibanda, who added, while improving agriculture techniques is a global issue, it is particularly important for Africa. 

“I think when you look at negotiations, you are looking at Africa as a continent with close to 54 countries that are members of the U.N., out of close to 200 member countries of the U.N.  We are saying, particularly for developing countries, particularly for Africa, where our heads of state have articulated that agriculture is the backbone of our economy.  We are calling on all of the African negotiators to prioritize agriculture, and push for a deal that recognizes a work program for agriculture," said Sibanda.     

She explained at present, African farmers are producing only about one-tenth of what they could be producing, due to difficult environmental conditions and a lack of technology. 

She said now is the time to focus on improving the use of natural resources and technology, “the technologies on the shelf need to be adapted to the local environment.  And that’s why local research at local levels is a critical role to play.  And then finally, we know there are technologies such as conservation agriculture, which can allow us to reduce emissions and use natural resources to enhance the fertility of our soil. And other technologies that farmers are willing to adopt, so that they can adapt to climate change.” 

Sibanda stressed these types of improvements require money that many developing countries do not have, and this too creates more challenges.

“The extension services need to be beefed-up so farmers can access knowledge.  The research needs to downscale technology to the farmer level.  So that too needs investment and finances… so farmers are willing to adapt in Africa, but they need help in accessing the technology.  And the technology needs to be appropriate for their conditions,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda described the Agriculture Day conference scheduled for December 3 as having more significant meaning for this year’s climate conference, “this year we are not just calling it, Agriculture and World Development, we’re calling it Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods because the people are important in this whole process.  The landscapes are important, and we are hoping to showcase some of the specific solutions for mitigating and adaptation, that can benefit farmers, particularly small-holder farmers.”

Sibanda emphasized putting agriculture in the spotlight is not just for the benefit of Africa.  She said food security is a global issue, and farmers worldwide are producing food under very difficult circumstances.  The climate conference is a good way to showcase gaps in knowledge regarding mitigating the effects of climate change, and offers a platform for educating, and implementing solutions to the effects of climate change.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid